Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer).
Robustness is the property of a system whose behaviour is relatively insensitive to perturbations either in its environment or in its components. There is often a trade-off between robustness and adaptability.
Although networks of interacting genes and metabolic reactions are interdependent, they have largely been treated as separate systems. Here the authors apply a statistical framework for interdependent networks to E. coli, and show that it is sensitive to gene and protein perturbations but robust against metabolic changes.
Dynamic network models are useful tools for studying complex disease progression. Here, the authors define and review the concepts of pleiotropy, robustness and rewiring, and highlight the importance of considering them jointly and in relation to disease co-occurrences in an individual.
Robustness of a phenotypic trait is characterized as lack of, or low, variance in that phenotype under a particular genetic or environmental perturbation. The authors review recent studies characterizing robustness, provide guidance in reporting robust features and insights into how variation propagates across biological systems.